Photo depicting the 2021 MLK Jr. Day rally and march with a Black- and female-presenting youth in the foreground holding a sign high that reads "Black Lives Matter."

Guide to Local Events to Celebrate Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

curated by Emerald Staff

Seattle is about as far as you can get from Atlanta, where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was born and led this country’s civil rights movement. But Seattle activist Larry Gossett would argue no city compares to Seattle’s fervor for celebrating Dr. King:

“Remember, y’all: No other citizenry from any city in our country, has been as able as Seattle’s activists — especially its Black, other People of Color, and progressive white community leaders — in attracting thousands of folks from all walks of life to come together every year to pay tribute to Dr. King’s legacy.”

Organizers are challenged again to hold this year’s events as the COVID-19 omicron variant spreads swiftly across the country. Planners are taking the variant into account, providing virtual access to events, distributing masks, and enforcing vaccination and negative test requirements. (For additional guidance on celebrating holidays safely, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.)

Here’s a list of some local events starting this weekend:

(Check back to this post as we continue to add more events that we hear about! ***Last updated: Monday, Jan. 17)

Photo depicting a crowd of individuals marching on MLK Jr. Day 2021. The marchers are holding signs that read "Good Trouble."
(Photo: Susan Fried)

Monday, Jan. 17

Blue flyer advertising the MLK Prayer Breakfast with yellow text that reads, "Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. That One MLK Day, Prayer Breakfast, January 17, 2022."

Start the day with the MLK Prayer Breakfast, from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., which brings together religious, education, governmental, and business sectors. You can attend in person at the Seattle Sheraton Grand, with proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test required. The meeting will also be available virtually; registration is required.

“That One Day,” will feature a keynote address by Dr. Rev. Otis Moss III. Among other awardees, the event will honor South Seattle’s Davis Family (Gregory, Shawn, Jerrell, and Kaila).

The award citation says, “The Davis Family is the first family to be honored with this Community Award. Each member of this family is actively engaged in social justice and equity work by way of community leadership, domestic violence advocacy, education reform, and youth development. They do this through performance art, gardening, and food justice to champion the voices of the community and young people They shine through their love for Black culture and many people point to the Davises as a whole. They are role models, mentors, community heroes and good friends.”

Rally and March

Many events Monday will be centered at Garfield High School, a prominent locale where Dr. King spoke during his only visit to Seattle on Nov. 8, 1961. A rally will be held at 11 a.m. at the Garfield High School parking lot followed by a march at 12:30 p.m. The rally and march are sponsored by the Seattle MLK Jr. Organizing Coalition.

King County is the only county in the U.S. named after the civil rights leader and the county will celebrate virtually at noon today with an online presentation.

You can download the event program here. Here are the details from the King County website:

“The 2022 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration will be broadcast on King County TV. King County employees and community members can watch the celebration on January 13th by tuning to KCTV Channels 22 and 322 (HD) at 12 p.m.”

King County Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration
Day: Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022
Time: 12:00 p.m.
Live streaming links:

Last November, the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) celebrated MLK60, the 60th anniversary of Dr. King’s visit to Seattle, and have put together a packed slate of events (both virtual and in person) for today.

NAAM “in partnership with the Seattle Sounders FC and Public Health — Seattle & King County, NAAM will host a vaccine and booster clinic (including a ‘Knowledge is Power’ books and Sounders’ ball giveaway as well as a Hygiene for Humanity Supply Drive) as part of the Seattle MLK Jr. Coalition’s rally in the morning at Garfield High School. NAAM’s activities are first come, first served and will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Garfield High School parking lot. The first 100 people to get a vaccination or booster shot will receive two tickets to a Sounders game.”

The Northwest African American Museum (NAAM), with sponsorship support from Boeing, will host a virtual King Day Celebration on Monday, Jan. 17, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The program will be repeated from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Highlights of the event include a keynote address from Nikki Giovanni, world-renowned poet, best-selling author; distinguished Virginia Tech professor, activist, and commentator; a children’s story hour with leaders from across Seattle; and inspiring musical performances of songs from the civil rights movement.

Editors’ Note: This article was updated on Monday, Jan. 17, 2022 to move the Saturday, Jan. 15, and Sunday, Jan. 16, events to the Emerald’s Recent Past Events page and to correct a typographical error.

📸 Featured Image: Scenes from the 2021 rally and march to commemorate Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  (Photo: Susan Fried)

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